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Friday, August 15, 2008

CD Review: Enda Reilly - Oxygen 21

Enda Reilly - Oxygen 21
2008, Enda Reilly

There is a fine, fine line between brilliance and insanity.  The fact that Enda Reilly appears to surf both rims of the pipeline on Oxygen 21 is neither frightening nor surprising.  Reilly leaves nothing off the table stylistically, and does not appear to shy away from any particular subject matter either. 

Oxygen 21 is a celebration of what we breathe every day, with references to the trees provides it and the windmills that may harness it.  The quasi-cabaret, quasi-bluegrass arrangement is unique and interesting.  Strangers On A Train discusses an erstwhile pact made with a stranger (think Throw Momma From The Train).  It's humorous and well-arranged.  Just when you're starting to think "novelty record", Enda Reilly busts open a song like Hidin' Away, a beautiful and poignant song based on some serious acoustic guitar work.  Reilly returns to the lighter side somewhat with I'm Doin' Fine Just The Way I Am.

Somewhere in here you realize that Enda Reilly isn't a comedian, he's more of a musical magician who happens to hit the funny bone on occasion (ala Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman).  Other highlights include the stream of consciousness Hear The Cries, the bizarre Nut In The Hut and I'm Not Crazy ; and Why We Can't Live In Peace.  We even get a glimpse of Reilly's live sound in the last track, Henry.

Enda Reilly has an amazing voice.  It's a clear tenor with flashes of warm baritone and amazingly clear tone.  Reilly handles the guitar very well and appears to have a knack for well-written songs with just a bite of humor.  Oxygen 21 is an absolute treat that will make a permanent home in your CD or MP3 collection.  So is it brilliance or insanity?  You can argue about it, I'm going to go listen to the CD again.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Enda Reilly at  You can purchase a copy of Oxygen 21 at  You can also purchase downloads from Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, iTunes, Napster and other such sites.

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